About the Natural Areas Conference

The first Natural Areas Conference took place in October 1974, four years before the Natural Areas Association was founded. It was an informal gathering of just 26 people. Leaders of that group convened the first conference because they felt the need for a place for natural areas professionals to come together, support each other and exchange important information.

More than 40 years later, the Natural Areas Conference has evolved into the premier gathering for natural areas professionals, but the mission is still the same; to share the latest advances in stewardship and connect as a community. 

What Makes a Natural Areas Conference:

  • Timely theme

    Focus on an area of inquiry (such as responding to climate change, or successful collaborations) of crucial and timely importance to the profession.

  • Latest research

    Speakers share their cutting-edge discoveries with attendees through presentations, symposia, panel discussions, posters and workshops.

  • Actionable information

    Presenters offer strategies and tactics that theyve used successfully in the field.

  • Inspiring plenary sessions

    We invite leaders in our field to stimulate debate and encourage big-picture inquiry.

  • Hands-on workshops

    Workshops can be half- or whole-day and focus on practical strategies and tactics.

  • Informative field workshops

    Learn first-hand about natural area issues in the region where the conference takes place, and explore the unique geography and biodiversity with local experts.

  • Networking events

    The Awards dinner, the Membership Luncheon, the Poster Session and Reception, and the Student-Mentor networking lunch all offer participants the opportunity to form and strengthen relationships.

  • Participation in an engaging and supportive community

    Members agree that what distinguishes our conferenceand our organizationis the feeling of camaraderie, and the often lifelong friends attendees come away with.

  • Great location

    The conference is located in a different place each year, and rotated to allow members in different parts of the country to showcase the outstanding natural areas in their region.

Hugh Safford and Cliff Chapman, 2015 Conference,  Little Rock, Arkansas

2017 Conference, Fort Collins, CO

2019 Conference, Pittsburgh, PA


Join the people who protect and manage our natural areas.